Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier will play Tuesday night against the Buffalo Sabres, quite amazing given he has a scratch and contusion on his right eye, and only yesterday was talking about how light so bothered him he had to wear sunglasses.
But Lecavalier participated in Tuesday's morning skate and said he had no restrictions, though he still had some discomfort but not enough to keep him out of the lineup. He will wear a visor at least through the end of the regular season.
"It just felt a whole lot better this morning," Lecavalier said. "I'm so surprised (I can play), but the doctor told me the eye heals very rapidly. But I never thought I would play tonight. It feel totally different."
"He says he's fine," coach Guy Boucher said, "and our medical staff says he's fine."
Lecavalier was hurt in the second period of Sunday's 2-0 victory over the Blackhawks when Chicago's Michael Frolik inadvertently hit him in the eye with his stick blade. He sat out the rest of the game and on Monday saw Sabres team ophthalmologist Andrew Seidlecki, who prescribed eye drops to help with the blurry vision and pain.
"It's not 100 percent," Lecavalier said. "But every hour it feels better and better. When I stepped on the ice, it felt fine."
Lecavalier began Tuesday's morning skate with a blue-tinted visor protecting his injured right eye. But after only a few minutes, he had it changed to a clear visor. As the visor was being replaced, Lecavalier tried to join power-play practice, but Boucher would not allow it until the helmet was re-fitted with the new visor.
Lecavalier, who normally does not wear a visor, said wearing the tinted visor made him feel as if he was "in a box."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Dwayne Roloson gets the start in net. ... Defenseman Eric Brewer will sit out a second straight game with a lower-body injury. Boucher reiterated how "minor" is the injury and that if it were the playoffs Brewer would be playing and how Brewer likely will play this weekend. "We just don't want to have something nagging," Boucher said. ... Right wing Steve Downie, benched for a good part of the third period against the Blackhawks, will play but got a long lecture from Boucher about controlling his emotions. Downie went after Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook after what seemed a clean check. No penalty was called, but Boucher called that lucky and added such behavior could cost the team dearly in a playoff series. ... Defenseman Randy Jones, who will miss his 14th straight game tonight with a high ankle sprain, skated with the team (though he wore a red jersey) for the first time since his injury and looked "pretty good," according to Boucher. The hope is Jones, injured March 7 against the Capitals, can play at least one game before the playoffs. But Jones did not sound as if that would happen. "It will be very difficult to do, but we'll see," he said. ... AHL Norfolk center Blair Jones had two goals and three points in Monday's win over Charlotte. His 175 points make him the AHL Admirals' all-time leader. ... Tonight's game is a big one for the Sabres, who are eighth in the East, three points behind the ninth-place Hurricanes. Asked what the game means to Tampa Bay, which is one-point behind the Penguins for fourth and home-ice in the playoffs, Boucher said, "We don't fight for home ice, we don't fight for the standings. We fight for us getting better. There are things we need to improve on. That's what we're focusing on today." ... If you hadn't noticed, the Lightning has been outshot in every game of its five-game winning streak. Boucher, though, said it is not a problem as in only one game, Sunday against the Blackhawks, did the team have fewer scoring chances.